A man lay down in a bed of earth. His body was covered in a dingy batter of dirt and sweat. The summer heat of the sun slowly baked the batter to a dry crisp.
Away from him, a horse wandered around, rooting with its nose as it searched for a thatch of grass to munch on.
There was no thought in the man’s head. Just the shallow rising and falling of his chest. Up, down. Up, down. In and out. Breathe.
He groaned softly as he lifted his arm to block the sun from his face.
An easy move made hard by the crash of the fall.
Cursing silently, he cajoled himself to sit up.
“Is it worth it?” He asked as he looked at the horse. “Does it really matter?”
His back stiffened in protest as he shifted to his knees. The man slowly turned his head to see if there are any witnesses to his fall. There was no one around. Only the three rail fence separating him and the horse from the open fields. Past that, open prairie expanding into the horizon. No one was there to impress; no one to disappoint. There was nothing to prove. The man exhales slowly.
The horse’s nicked as the man stood up. Every bone and muscle protested against him. He stretched to protest back.
Sighing at the thought, the man groaned as he bent to pick up his hat. Limping as he walked, he made his way to the horse. The horses ears twitched as she shifted away from him.
“Easy.” He soothed. “Let’s take this slow.”
The man slid his boot in the stirrup and climbed back into the saddle.